Nevada Highway Patrol attrition attracts union attention | Government and politics


LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada Highway Patrol vacancies resulting from soldiers leaving for better-paying law enforcement jobs elsewhere have a union official calling for immediate legislative action.

Gov. Steve Sisolak, in his recent ‘state of the state’ address, acknowledged what he called a ‘big problem’ with unfilled jobs and said he would propose raises for police officers of the state next year if re-elected.

Wayne Dice, representing the Nevada Police Union which includes highway patrol officers, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that action needed to be taken sooner to deal with the exodus of soldiers.

“We can’t wait 17 months for him to ask (the Legislature) for a raise,” Dice said. Soldiers “leave because of their pay and benefits,” he said. “We have retirements mixed in with that, but most of it is on wages and benefits.”

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State legislators typically meet every two years. The state legislature will then meet for 120 days in early 2023.

The union also represents the Nevada Capitol Police, state parole and probation officers, firefighters, game wardens, park rangers, college police, and public safety officers.

Of more than 700 eligible officers, the union has 528 members – up from 531 at the end of 2021, spokesman Paul Klein said Monday.

Sisolak, in his statewide address on Feb. 23, said Nevada has “a big problem with the state police in that we end up being a training ground for everyone else. departments of the state”, where the salary can go up to 40% higher.

In an emailed statement, Sisolak spokeswoman Meghin Delaney said Monday that the governor was not considering calling a special session of the Legislature to settle soldiers’ pay. But she said he thought having a “well-trained, well-paid” state police was a “critical issue.”

“The governor plans to incorporate increases into the overall budget proposal he is required to submit before the next legislative session,” the statement said. “The issue requires full budgetary discussions, which are not feasible in a special session.”

In September, the department released a statement highlighting “a shortage of sworn personnel” and said the safety of Nevada residents was at stake.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police said a membership survey it conducted in September 2019 found that law enforcement in the United States is struggling to recruit and hire police officers.

“While agency-specific needs exist based on size or location, difficulty in recruiting is a significant issue that affects the law enforcement field broadly,” a report of the findings reads.

The Review-Journal reported that the starting salary for an entry-level Nevada State Police officer can range from just under $47,000 to $54,000, depending on the retirement plan the officer chooses. employee.

The union wants a 15% wage increase and for the state to pay the soldiers’ pension contributions, Dice said.

A presentation made by the state police to state legislators in 2021 estimated the department’s overall officer turnover rate at 135% in 2020, with 60 cadets hired and 81 officers departing from the agency. Revenue was 109% in 2019 and 127% in 2018.

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